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Advani takes a dig at PM's media advisor

September 10, 2012 18:09 IST

Bhartiya Janata Party patriarch Lal Krishna Advani took a dig at the prime minister's 48-year old communication advisor Pankaj Pachauri in his latest blog for his "stupidity" of trying to fix a Washington Post journalist who wrote Dr Manmohan Singh as "a tragic figure and a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government."

Himself a former journalist before switching over to politics, Advani quoted another senior journalist M J Akbar writing in The Sunday Guardian: "The worst person that government can hire to 'manage' media is a journalist. He becomes holier than thou. And so, when told to fix a story he attempts to fix the journalist."

Advani first posed a question: "Which is the greater crime in public life, corruption or stupidity?" And, then goes on to answer: "Take your time over the answer. If corruption were a political death sentence, quite a portion of the UPA Cabinet would not have been elected in 2009. Perhaps corruption is measured by extent; only when lubrication turns into loot does the voter decide that enough is enough."

He then referred to Pachauri's reaction to the Washigton Post article as he said even passing silliness creates disproportionate damage, possibly because the punishment is ridicule. Laughter can be more dangerous for reputation than a court sentence, he added.

Referring to the last week's development, Advani wrote, "A perfect storm was brewed out of a non-event when an officious media advisor to Dr Manmohan Singh thought that he would crush a journalist from the Washington Post, Simon Denyer, and send a stern signal to Indian reporters in the process, with a withering salvo of accusations."

"This pesky foreign correspondent had dared to commit the unpardonable impropriety of criticising the Prime Minister of India. If this was intended to cow down Denyer, it had the opposite effect. And if it was meant to frighten Indian media, then the consequences were worse, for a story which would have been ignored or reduced to the margins rose to the top of attention. The official's pomposity was an invitation to laughter, and who could resist such an offer? This must be a high point of disservice to Dr Manmohan Singh by a man hired to serve."
A Correspondent in New Delhi